Jail for man who posed as schoolboy for underage sex

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A 22-year-old man who had sex with and abducted a 13-year-old girl after he tricked her and her family into believing he was a schoolboy was jailed for two and half years today.







James Chester befriended the girl's brother and became part of the family and was even seen by her mother in school uniform.



Mary Johnson, prosecuting, said Chester, who was described as having a personality disorder and delusional after a violent childhood, told the family he was 16 when he was then 21, Portsmouth Crown Court heard.



He had enrolled into a secondary school when 19 but was found out, the court was told.



Very soon after he met the family from Portsmouth in early 2007 he began a sexual relationship with the youngster and the court was told that in interview, the teenager said she willingly had sex with him about 50 times.



The court heard that Chester and the girl left the family home and went to Northern Ireland on 5 August last year where they stayed with friends but she was reported missing by her parents.



A few days' later they returned to the mainland and Chester, formally from Portsmouth, was arrested.



He pleaded guilty to child abduction and sexual activity with a child at an earlier hearing.



Ms Johnson said the girl was happy to have the relationship with Chester who gave her a ring and she told police she thought they would marry.



"She said if she had known his true age she would not have got into the relationship," Ms Johnson told the court.



A few years' earlier Chester had used a fake birth certificate and a letter of support to become a pupil at St Edmund's Catholic School in Arundel Street, Portsmouth, in September 2005, when he was 19 years old.



He posed as a year 10 pupil for three weeks before staff became aware of his true age and he was reported to the police, but not charged with any offence.



His victim was not a pupil at this school.



A year later, Chester tried to join the City of Portsmouth Boys' School but background checks were conducted and by the time Chester tried to enrol in September 2006 he had been discovered.



Jennifer Knight, mitigating, said that Chester was a disturbed, confused and unhappy man who wanted to be 16 again because of the terrible childhood he had with a violent father and being taken into care.



This desire had left him unable to move on, she explained "He wanted to be, and felt he was, 16 years old," she said.



She said that Chester had not coerced the girl or used violence to have sex with her.



Jailing Chester concurrently for the two offences, Judge Graham White said: "These were very serious offences. They were committed deliberately in the sense that you knew what you were doing. You knew you were entering into a sexual relationship as a young man of 21 with a girl of 13.



"There was an element of deceit and subterfuge because you told her you were 16 or 17. It's clear she would not entered into a sexual relationship with you had she known the truth.



"Not only did you deceive her, you also deceived her parents whose job it is to protect her."



Judge White said Chester was not mentally ill but he had a personality disorder and he will receive treatment while serving his sentence.



He also ordered a sexual offenders' Prevention Order to be imposed banning Chester from entering into relationships with children under 16, going within 50 metres of secondary schools, playgrounds or children's events, wearing school uniforms or trying to enrol in schools.



Chester was also banned from working with children and ordered to sign on the Sex Offenders' Register for 10 years.



The parents of the victim were in court but left without comment.